The New York Knicks are arguably the biggest surprise of the 2020-21 NBA season. No one thought that Tom Thibodeau, in his first season at the helm, would have the team playing as well as they are.
New York currently sits alone in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 18-17. They are one of only four teams in the Conference, along with the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, that even have winning records.
If it wasn’t clear following the acquisition of Derrick Rose, it is now; the Knicks are pushing for a playoff spot. They have an All-Star in Julius Randle as the centerpiece and are beginning to see some growth from their younger players, such as RJ Barrett, around him.
The needs for the Knicks are clear. They could use help on the wing and more consistent shooting. One player that could help in the shooting department is JJ Redick. In a trade suggested by Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, the Knicks land the veteran sharpshooter from the New Orleans Pelicans to help their playoff push.
Redick is shooting a career-low 35.9 percent from the field but began to heat up in February for the Pelicans, knocking down 46.8 percent of his attempts. He is an experienced shooter that would help the Knicks open up their offense. He would bring a ton of playoff experience to the roster as well, something the team could use more of.
Redick would give Thibodeau a legitimate weapon to deploy as a floor spacer. Given how well the Knicks have played on defense this season, they should be able to cover up for Redick on that end of the court with the different combinations they would be able to deploy.
The suggested trade package would be Redick landing in New York, with Austin Rivers and the Detroit Pistons’ 2023 second-round pick heading to the Pelicans. While many people would believe Redick could fetch more in a trade, there aren’t many teams that can take on his salary without sending some salary back. New York can do that, as they have $15 million in cap space remaining. For the Knicks, that is a trade they should accept immediately if it is put on the table.
Rivers is far from the rotation despite Elfrid Payton being sidelined with a hamstring injury. He was surpassed in the rotation by Rose upon his acquisition and now appears to be behind Frank Ntilikina as well.
So, where would JJ Redick fit in this equation if Rivers isn’t a rotation player? The most likely outcome would be Payton seeing his role diminished.
Thibodeau will not expand his rotation beyond 10 players. The team has looked great during the time Payton has been sidelined, as Rose has moved into the starting five with rookie Immanuel Quickley and Ntilikina manning the second unit. Adding another veteran to the mix would only help keep things moving smoothly.